Shoppers in Eastleigh are being urged to help people in need this Christmas by donating food during the UK’s biggest food collection.

The Tesco Food Collection launches across the supermarket’s stores today, with customers being invited to give long-life food to support the work of charities the Trussell Trust and FareShare, helping people who cannot afford to feed themselves and their families.

The long-life food donated to food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network is given in emergency food parcels to people referred because they don’t have enough money coming in to cover essential costs. Food donated to FareShare is distributed to charities and community groups who use it to provide meals for vulnerable groups such as isolated older people and those in homeless shelters.

Last year generous shoppers donated more than 3.5 million meals-worth of food during the Tesco Food Collection. This year the supermarket is hoping to top that figure. Once again Tesco will be topping up the value of the customer donations by an additional 20% to help the charities in their work.

Tesco’s Group Communications Director Christine Heffernan, who is volunteering with FareShare during the collection, urged customers to donate.

“We know that the items that our customers donate can make a real difference to people who really need that little bit of extra help this year – whether it is in a food parcel for someone at a time of crisis, or a part of a hot meal which means that a vulnerable person does not feel lonely this Christmas,” she said.

“Both FareShare and the Trussell Trust do amazing work and we are proud to do our bit at Tesco by topping up the public donations to the Tesco Food Collection by 20%.”

One of the groups that receives donations from FareShare is Eastleigh Youth & Community Trust in Hampshire,

“The food we receive from FareShare is used by volunteers to prepare home-cooked meals for adults with learning disabilities at our Inclusive Lunch Club, and for older people at our Friendship Lunch Club,” said Daisy Robinson from the charity.

“This is especially important over the Christmas period where the levels of isolation experienced by vulnerable people in the community can have a hugely damaging impact.”

Annette Smith, manager of the Trussell Trust’s Morecambe Bay Foodbank said the food donated during the Tesco Food Collection was badly needed by people in crisis.

“No one should need a food bank but during the lead up to Christmas, but even more people are referred to our food bank for help,” she said. “Our volunteers will be doing all they can to help but food banks like ours need your donations to make sure emergency food is there for anyone who needs it.

“In the past, the staggering generosity of Tesco customers, store colleagues and volunteers has made a real difference. We would love to have your support once again – your donations will help stop hunger this Christmas.”

The Tesco Food Collection runs from today until Saturday, November 23. Look out for donation points at the front of Tesco stores throughout the UK and Northern Ireland.

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